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Workers removing smouldering pellets from silo at Pacific Bioenergy

Production at the Pacific Bioenergy has been put on hold after a low-grade fire broke out in one of the two silos containing the pellet plant's finished product.
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Pacific BioEnergy plant on Willow Cale Forestry Road.

Production at the Pacific Bioenergy has been put on hold after a low-grade fire broke out in one of the two silos containing the pellet plant's finished product.

Abnormal heat from the structure was first detected shortly after midnight Thursday, producing a billow of smoke, and material inside the structure continued to smoulder as of Friday morning, company spokesman Kevin Brown said.

"There is fire but there is no flame," he said.

With Prince George Fire Rescue on standby, workers have been salvaging pellets and moving them to a new location while also filling the space with an inert gas to prevent a flare up. Brown said that's likely to continue through the weekend.

"You can only fully extinguish what we are terming the smouldering that's going on inside the silo once all the wood pellets are out of there," he said. "It's a very slow, careful, methodical kind of process."

Once the pellets have been removed, an investigation into the cause will follow.

Several thousand tonnes of pellets remain in the second silo.

"We always have extra pellets onsite that are available to be loaded into the railcars and then sent to the shipping facility in North Vancouver to be loaded onto boats and shipped to customers either in Europe or across the Pacific Ocean," Brown said.

No one was injured and staff are continuing to report to work, he said.